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Traffic Ticket Procedure

Receiving a traffic citation is an unpleasant experience and one that can result in fines, insurance increases and a host of other negative consequences.  If you receive a ticket, it is important to understand New Orleans traffic ticket procedure so you can minimize the potential adverse consequences of a ticket.

When you receive a traffic ticket, the citation will explain the next step in the process. The ticket may permit you to pay your fine by mail.  However, we do not recommend this course of action since paying your fine is an admission of guilt, and the record of the citation may appear on your driving record, raising your insurance rates and disqualifying you from any job that requires a clean driving record.

Instead of paying the fine, we recommend that you fight your ticket.  The citation should specify the date you are required to appear. If you cannot appear on that date, you will need to request a different date.  However, you will be expected to appear at some point. If you ignore the order to appear in court, you have broken the law and the judge can issue a bench warrant for your arrest.


Your initial appearance in court is called an arraignment.  At this time, the court will give you the chance to plead guilty or not guilty.  It is important to make the right choice on how to plead, and you should retain a New Orleans traffic accident attorney before you attend the arraignment and decide how to plead.

If you plead guilty, then you may be able to arrange a plea deal or attend traffic school instead of having the ticket go on your record. Traffic school can be expensive and time consuming and you are limited in the number of times you can attend traffic school within a year. If you plead not guilty, you do not necessarily give up your right to traffic school should the court not find in your favor, but it is important to reserve your right to attend traffic school. A New Orleans traffic accident lawyer can provide advice and help guide you through the process.

Discovery and Trial

If you have pleaded not guilty, then the case will proceed through the discovery process, through the filing of pre-trial motions, and then proceed to trial. The discovery process is the time when you and the prosecutor will build your case. You can request information from the prosecutor during this phase.

The pre-trial phase is the time when you make procedural arguments to the court. For example, you might argue that the case should be dropped due to lack of evidence or that certain evidence should be excluded because there was a problem with its collection.

Finally, trial is where you will have a chance to prove your guilt or innocence.   You will appear before the court and present your case and the judge will make a ruling.

Bloom Legal Can Guide You Through the Traffic Ticket Process

Whether you want to plead guilty or not guilty to a traffic ticket, you should not navigate the traffic ticket process alone. An experienced New Orleans traffic ticket attorney can help you reach the best possible outcome. With the assistance of Bloom Legal, you may not even have to appear in court at all and you may be able to avoid fines and protect your driving record.